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Dodger Stadium Video Upgrade, Part 1

May 2, 2013 11:19 AM, With Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

To welcome baseball season, Dodger Stadium has gotten a complete makeover including all new video displays with massive LED screens, videowalls, and ribbon displays. ANC Sports came in for the job and Chris Mascatello is here to give us a look at what’s there and how it was all set up, coming up next on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: Chris, thanks for being with us on the SVC Podcast from ANC Sports. A big installation project at Dodger Stadium, but big jobs are nothing new for ANC Sports. What’s been happening there and what all does the company get into?

Chris Mascatello: Well, thanks for having me. It’s good to be back. ANC Sports is a multimedia integrated display solution provider for sports and entertainment venues around North America. We’ve been really in a boom over the last 12 months, having the opportunity to design and integrate some of the largest and most unique sports signage systems in the U.S. We did, on our last call, talk about the largest end-zone video screens in the world for the Tennessee Titans. Since we’ve spoken, we also installed a very large rectangular scoreboard that stretches from foul line to foul line for the Indiana Pacers at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, and we now have a really busy slate of major league baseball projects that are going to be very intriguing for us, and looking to take the LED technology to the next level. [Timestamp: 1:55]

A timely topic with baseball season cranking up. The video displays project at Dodger Stadium was part of a massive overhaul of the whole place. What did the Dodgers organization want from the video upgrade? I think they already had some display technology in there from back around 1980.

The stadium just celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. In 1980, the Dodgers replaced their left centerfield message board with, at the time, what was one of the first full-color video screens in sports. Yeah, that was 1980 and that screen deviated from the previous shape of the scoreboard structure, which is what they call the iconic Dodgers Stadium Chevron; or basically it’s a hexagonal design. So they had a rectangle in left center field and the chevron shape in right center field in 1980. They updated their video board in 2003 to an LED display that at the time was one of the largest in major league baseball, at roughly 26ft. by 46ft. Now we’ve gotten into the era of high definition and 1080p, and in some instances we’re really talking greater than HD and starting to look at 4K resolutions in the coming years. So the Dodgers, under new ownership from the earlier part of last season, really decided that they wanted to shape that iconic ballpark while maintaining the sort of retro stadium charm that’s always been part of that iconic facility. [Timestamp: 3:27]

And so they called in ANC Sports to bring the stadium displays up to modern-day standards and what did they want to set up in there to replace the old screens?

The first design architectural thought was from the folks at Dodgers Stadium, including Janet Marie Smith, who has helped and worked on Fenway Park master renovation plan that just wrapped up last year, being part of the Oriole Park at Camden Yards team that really kicked off the renaissance of baseball park design. So she was brought on to bring Dodger Stadium up to current-day standards and really push the envelope. So one of the first orders of business, as they looked at what they could do from a video board perspective, was they knew they wanted to go back to the iconic Dodger Stadium Chevron shape on both the left-center and right-center field scoreboards. So that was their first step. They really had a vision for what the outfield display areas were going look like, and then it was a matter of really looking at what was possible from an engineering standpoint in a ballpark that was 50 years old located in a seismic zone like Los Angeles, as well as trying to keep some semblance of a video display that fits with the rest of Dodger Stadium. They didn’t want to put in the world’s largest video screen because that wouldn’t fit with the look and feel of the ballpark. So we started doing some studies with them and looking at the engineering, and we really came to what was a nice, mid-ground of a larger video display—about 20 percent larger on both structures. And these new structures the face is entirely LED, so they’re very technologically advanced at that level, and also maximizing what the existing foundations and structural steel concrete footer uprights could sustain so they didn’t have to invest millions and millions of dollars to put in new support members. And so starting with that as the second point, we wanted to go [with a] chevron design and they didn’t want to go too big and they wanted to maximize what they could do with the existing structure. We then looked at and worked backwards from the approximate height and width that we were able to work with and came to the conclusion that a 10mm videoscreen was going to be the option that got them above 1080 resolution, which I think is crucial in this day and age with everyone’s home TV now being 1080p. What that did is really it makes the Dodgers the first team in major league baseball to go to a primary videoscreen, and in this case, two primary videoscreens utilizing 10mm LED spacing. The industry standard right now is somewhere between 16mm and 20mm. So the metaphor that I’ve used in the past is they’ve installed the first retina display in baseball. The dots are going to be so close together that almost every fan in the seats, including the ones in the bleachers below the scoreboard, that they look back at the screens, they’re going to just see image. They’re not going be able to see any of the individual LED’s that are making up the display. So we’re excited to debut this technology into major league baseball. [Timestamp: 6:43]

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